It’s back. After a sleepy spring, English League Premier Soccer returns to the field and on the air. I missed it.
2020 will be remembered as the year COVID-19 brought professional sports to its knees, perhaps literally. You will see a lot of asterisks next to this year in future sports history books and statistical tables. My favorite sports – soccer and hockey – closed down just when things were getting really interesting in the run-ins.
Last Wednesday, I finally got to see a live match as the English Premier League Soccer returns to finish its season. It’s interruption lasted 100 days, more or less. Now, the league will try to play 92 games in six weeks. With such a concentration, I suspect there may be a lot of fatigue-related injuries. Hopefully, our corona-virus will stay off the pitch.
Europa and Champions League matches have been moved to August. The FA Cup will resume later this month.
Our opening matches this week featured all players and officials “taking a knee” for a few seconds. Also, all the players have “Black Lives Matter” printed on their team jerseys for the first twelve matches, in place of their names. In addition, English teams will wear a badge thanking health care workers for their heroic service.
Seeing live sports again brings me some greater degree of normalcy, though this season’s interruption takes away some of the glory.
English Premier League Soccer Returns without Bums in Seats
I found it weird watching football in empty stadiums. However, the broadcaster somehow added a sound track of crowd noise. With the cameras ignoring the empty seats, it seemed almost normal. Except the cheering and action were not synchronized to any degree.
Football is a huge global business. Player compensation is massive. I am sure a lot of clubs will struggle to make ends meet, and some without deep pockets will fail. For our higher league teams, gate compensation is a small part of their revenue. Mainly, we pay for professional soccer through television subscriptions and advertising. So, there’s your main motivation for getting matches back on television. However, your lower league clubs need ticket revenue which is not available during COVID-19.
I would not be surprised to see a few broadcasters in trouble, too.